Decoding the DNA reports in the JonBenet Ramsey case

KUSA - Three reports, obtained exclusively by 9NEWS and the Boulder Daily Camera, summarize the results of DNA testing done on clothing JonBenet Ramsey was wearing when she was killed.

That testing located unidentified male DNA on JonBenet’s long johns.

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Then-Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy relied on that DNA testing when she issued a letter July 9, 2008, publicly clearing JonBenet’s parents and brother as possible suspects in the case. In doing so, she asserted that the DNA work done at what was then known as Bode Technology was conclusive on multiple points:

  • There was no innocent explanation for the presence of male DNA on JonBenet’s clothing.
  • The DNA “matched” a male DNA profile identified years earlier in JonBenet’s underpants, known as Unknown Male 1.
  • As a result, she was confident that investigators had the DNA profile of JonBenet’s killer.

The reports – and the underlying data that shows what analysts actually found – had never been seen publicly before 9NEWS and the Camera obtained them and asked three highly respected forensics experts to examine them.

Those experts agreed – there very well could be an innocent explanation for the presence of the DNA on JonBenet’s clothing, the mixtures discovered on the long johns contained genetic material from more than two people, the “match” with the Unknown Male 1 profile was far from conclusive. In addition, two of them said it was possible that profile known as Unknown Male 1 is not a DNA profile of a single person.

The first report, dated March 24, 2008, shows the results of testing on the long johns JonBenet was wearing. According to the report, the analysts who did the lab work believed the DNA on the outside of the long johns was “likely” a mixture of genetic material from JonBenet and at least two other people. After accounting for JonBenet’s DNA, the analysts concluded “the remaining DNA should not be considered a single-source profile.”

The second report, dated May 12, 2008, shows the results of testing on JonBenet’s nightgown. That testing, according to the report, was inconclusive on many fronts.

The final report, dated June 20, 2008, shows the results of a comparison of the DNA found on the long johns with the Unknown Male 1 profile. According to the report, the Unknown Male 1 was not an exact match for the DNA found on the long johns.

Following stories Oct. 27 and 28 on 9NEWS and in the Daily Camera, these documents have been released to other media organizations.

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